On December 28th Vladimir Putin signed a bill that bans the adoption of Russian children by American citizens. He did it after the bill was approved by both the lower chamber of Russian Parliament, the Duma, and the upper chamber, the Federation Council.
It is difficult not to notice a strange coincidence. Putin signed the bill on December 28 – the Holy Innocents’ Day. On this day the Church of England, the Lutheran Church and the Roman Catholic Church commemorate the massacre of the “Holy Innocents”, infants in Bethlehem who were, according to the Gospel of Matthew, killed by the order of the King Herod.
The law has caused much controversy. A popular Russian newspaper “Novaya Gazeta” has collected about 130 thousand signatures against this document, and the leaders of the Justice Ministry, Finance Ministry and the Foreign Ministry has publicly criticized the Bill.
But one of the protests against the law triggered an especially big scandal that can result in the creation of a new outrageous law.
That was a protest of the most prominent Russian TV personality Vladimir Posner, the host of a late night interview show “Posner”, modeled on the Larry King show. This show is broadcasted on the Russia’s Channel One, a state controlled Federal station viewed by millions of Russians.
Vladimir Posner (78) is a unique personality, known almost by every Russian.
He was born in France to a Jewish father and a French mother, grew up in the US and was brought to USSR at the age of 12 by his communist father. His perfect knowledge of English was fully used by the bosses of the soviet propaganda. For many years during the Cold War, Posner delivered the nightly “Radio Moscow News and Commentary” program for the US and Canadian listeners.
In the mid-80s, he co-hosted several televised discussions, carried via satellite (or “spacebridges“) for audiences in the Soviet Union and the US. From 1991 to 1994 Posner co-hosted Vladimir Pozner / Bill Donahue weekly roundtable program, aired both on CNBC and in syndication.
In all these programs Vladimir Pozner loyally served the communist fatherland. He praised the state for imprisoning Soviet political dissidents whose activities he disapproved; supported the Soviet Union / Afghan war; ‘informed’ Americans that anti-Semitism did not exist in the USSR.
Perestroika and aging transformed Vladimir Posner. In his 1990 autobiography “Parting with Illusions” Posner wrote that some of the positions he had taken were wrong and immoral. He has revised his beliefs and gradually became kind of the Elder of Russian journalists.
In 1997, Posner founded the School for Television Excellence in Moscow to educate and promote young journalists.
From its foundation in 1994 until 2008, Pozner was president of the Russian Television Academy.
He is often called “the conscience of the journalistic profession” in Russia.
Posner in his late night show often gives political comments, more liberal then comments of other anchors of the Russian state TV. But this time, criticizing the Duma for banning American adoptions, he made a slip. Instead of saying “State Duma” he said “State Fool”. In Russian “Duma” and “Fool” (Dura) sound very similar.
Posner immediately apologized for the slip. But some people still think that the slip was a conscious irony.
Members of Duma were outraged. They demanded a law forbidding people with multiple citizenship from working for Russian Federal TV. Posner is a citizen of three countries: Russia, USA and France.
The initiator of the initiative is Andrey Lugovoy.
Andrey Lugovoy is not less interesting personality than Posner.
A former KGB agent, he was accused in 2006 by British investigators of poisoning the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko with polonium-210.
British government issued an extradition request asking that Lugovoy be returned to the United Kingdom to stand trial for Litvinenko’s murder. Russia formally declined a UK request to extradite Lugovoy. Instead this man, wanted for murder, was made a member of Russian Parliament – Duma, which gave him parliamentary immunity and made it impossible to investigate his involvement in Litvinenko’s murder even in Russia.
Here is a quote from the Wikipedia article about him:
“In December 2008 Lugovoy voiced support for harsher laws against dissent in Russia.
“He told the Spanish newspaper El País: ‘If someone has caused the Russian state serious damage, they should be exterminated […] Do I think someone could have killed Litvinenko in the interests of the Russian State? If you’re talking about the interests of the Russian State, in the purest sense of the word, I myself would have given that order.” He then clarified himself: “I’m not talking about Litvinenko but about any person who causes serious damage.” He named President Saakashvili of Georgia and the KGB defector Gordievsky as examples.”
Here is how Lugovoy explained his new initiative in his radio interview:
“One should really think hard whether people with non-Russian citizenship can serve adequately the interests of the Russian State, working for Russian money on Russian Federal channels, yet discrediting the State power. That’s all.
Posner is such a smart little chap! So, it’s time for us to punch all little chaps of the kind.
Jab in the ass – and goodbye.”
Russia faces new scandal and new conflict. “The conscience of the journalistic profession” versus a murder suspect as the mouthpiece of the Russian Parliament.
Who is going to win?
За оскорбление “органа, избранного народом” и “страны, которая щедро платит” телеведущему, он должен быть изгнан с Первого канала согласно новому закону.